Starbucks employees at 2 Philadelphia stores seek to unionize
Starbucks employees at a pair of Philadelphia stores have filed petitions seeking to unionize — and more could follow.
Why it matters: Only two of Starbucks' roughly 9,000 company-owned stores in the U.S. have unionized.
- Two stores in the Buffalo, New York, area voted to unionize in December, and several others across the country have begun filing petitions.
- The Philadelphia stores are believed to be the first company-owned stores in Pennsylvania to file union petitions, said Alex Riccio, a Workers United staff organizer working on the campaign.
Of note: Some Starbucks locations that are owned and operated by other companies through licensing agreements are unionized.
Driving the news: The Starbucks workers at 1945 Callowhill St. and 600 S 9th St. filed petitions to hold elections on union representation with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) on Friday.
- Baristas and shift supervisors at the stores have been organizing for months. They're seeking to join Workers United, an affiliate of Service Employees International Union.
The big picture: The coffee giant is against unions forming at its stores, according to a December letter to employees from Starbucks executive vice president Rossann Williams.
- "From the beginning, we've been clear in our belief that we do not want a union between us as partners, and that conviction has not changed. However, we have also said that we respect the legal process," Williams said.
How it works: To qualify for a vote, at least 30% of eligible workers must sign union cards.
- Riccio said both Philadelphia stores had a "super majority" of workers who signed cards.
What they're saying: Employees who are part of the union campaign said they're seeking protections against retaliation and unjust firings, more consistent and fair scheduling, and higher pay, among other things.
- Colter Chatriand, a barista at the Callowhill store and a main organizer of the campaign, said working at Starbucks "can be very chaotic," and issues raised by employees go largely unheard.
- "I've seen unfair treatment of the workers, and the pay isn't very high,” said Ari Moniodes, a barista at the 9th Street store who's part of the campaign.
The other side: Starbucks spokesperson Sarah Albanesi told Axios the company is "listening and learning from the partners in this store as we always do across the country."
- If the NLRB determines to allow elections to be held at the stores, then Starbucks would encourage employees to vote, Albanesi said.
What to watch: Employees at two other city stores could file petitions in the coming weeks, Chatriand said
- "We would hope for a ripple effect," he said.
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